The rolling process is widely used in the metal forming industry and has been so for many years. However, the process has attracted renewed interest as it recently has been adapted to very small scales where conventional plasticity theory cannot accurately predict the material response. It is well-established that gradient effects play a role at the micron scale, and the objective of this study is to demonstrate how strain gradient hardening affects the rolling process. Specifically, the paper addresses how the applied roll torque, roll forces, and the contact conditions are modified by strain gradient plasticity. Metals are known to be stronger when large strain gradients appear over a few microns; hence, the forces involved in the rolling process are expected to increase relatively at these smaller scales. In the present numerical analysis, a steady-state modeling technique that enables convergence without dealing with the transient response period is employed. This allows for a comprehensive parameter study. Coulomb friction, including a stick–slip condition, is used as a first approximation. It is found that length scale effects increase both the forces applied to the roll, the roll torque, and thus the power input to the process. The contact traction is also affected, particularly for sheet thicknesses on the order of 10 μm and below. The influences of the length parameter and the friction coefficient are emphasized, and the results are presented for multiple sheet reductions and roll sizes.

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